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Choosing Right Presentation Layer Architecture

Language: English Quality: High Has Audio: true Source: Other Media: PDF Posted On: 19 Jun 09

It has been several years now since .NET hit the streets and created momentum around Microsoft's vision of connecting people and processes together, anytime, anywhere and on any device. This vision was built on Web services standards implementations on .NET and broad adoption in the technical community. Both prerequisites have been achieved, not only on .NET but also on other vendor platform offerings .With this has come a better understanding of the new possibilities for application architectures, specifically SOA which, I would argue, is the first expression of that understanding.

We are seeing the architectural ideas behind SOA being adopted in many areas of the overall system solution. These are not restricted just to the application layer because of resulting productivity and business benefits. For instance, integration, interoperability, management, operations, testing, security, data and user interface aspects of system solutions can each be viewed from the perspective of service orientation. A so-called service oriented convergence (SOC) phenomenon is taking place, at least conceptually, amongst the architectural thinkers I have been working with lately.

In this issue of JOURNAL there are three papers which will add some credence to this way of thinking especially as it relates to the role of service consumers in SOC and particularly the role of smart clients and task-oriented user interfaces.

We start with a paper by David Hill, a member of the Microsoft Architecture Strategy team, who contrasts thin and smart client architecture approaches and provides guidance on how to choose between them. David shows us that "smart clients are rich clients done right", leveraging new technology and techniques to avoid the pitfalls of traditional rich client applications whilst aligning neatly with the principles of convergent service-centric system models.

Ricard Roma i Dalfó from Microsoft's Office division discusses in his article a new metadata-driven approach to building task-oriented service consumers directly within Microsoft Office applications. The Information Bridge Framework (IBF) goes beyond a service's WSDL metadata by automating the construction of user interfaces from metadata descriptions of the entities that constitute consumed services. It does this by describing entity views, their relationships and identity references, and operations which can be performed on them.

Performance is probably one of the least understood and misquoted metrics in the field of computing today. However, as a metric for system evaluation, it is considered by most users to be one of the most important and critical factors for assessing the suitability of systems. Richard Drayton of FiS and Arvindra Sehmi from the Enterprise Architecture team in Microsoft EMEA write a paper on benchmarking a scalable transaction engine which has an architecture based on loosely coupled, stateless, message processing components arranged in a queuing network. This architecture proved invaluable from a benchmarking perspective because it is backed up by sound mathematical techniques which enable an assessment of the impact on performance of various implementation realization techniques a-priori to deciding on any specific realization technologies. Therefore, measured benchmark metrics inherit and benefit from these mathematically credible foundations.

Pedro Sousa, Carla Marques Pereira and José Alves Marques, all from Link Consulting, follow with their paper discussing how, within the context of various Enterprise Architecture Frameworks each with their own concepts, components, and methodologies, the most important concern for architects is alignment. This concern may lead to consideration of simpler architecture concepts and simpler methodologies because the focus is not to define development artifacts but to check their consistency.

Next, Maarten Mullender, Solutions Architect in Microsoft's Architecture Strategy team introduces us to Razorbills, which is a proposal for describing 'what' services do, thereby dramatically improving the usefulness of service consumption. There are similarities with the second article on IBF where the description is done in terms of entities, views, actions, references and relationships but the emphasis is on helping business analysts and users to better bridge the gap between structured and unstructured, and formal and informal content and process. Maarten goes further to discuss the relevance of this approach in entity aggregation at informational and functional levels, user interaction and collaboration.

The final paper is a short piece on Next Generation Tools by Oren Novotny of Goldman, Sachs & Co. In this he argues that development tools must support the shift that languages have already made and fully support model-driven development. He insists source code files should be eliminated as they no longer serve a useful function in this context and the current rationale for using them is made irrelevant by better and different means in these next generation tools.

Tags: Enterprise Architecture, EA, Architecture, SOA, eBook, Microsoft, Journal, Service, .net, Architect, Software Development, presentation, benchmarking, architecturejournal,     [SUGGEST  A  TAG]

Created : 2004-10-01      Format : PDF